In marriage, golden jubilee anniversaries do happen

Published: April 8, 2012
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Ours was definitely a marriage made in heaven; all 50 years of our companionship were heavenly. She was like my good luck charm. PHOTO: REUTERS

Sometimes memories of the years that have passed roll on in front of our eyes like old black and white movies. On April 8, every year since 1962, I have felt that way and am reminded each year of the day I married my beloved wife. This year is our golden jubilee anniversary, and I plan to celebrate it with my wife by my side, God willing.

On this day, I intend to invite our relatives and friends, not to celebrate the day we got married, but the happy days we have spent together and how we have made an impact on each others’ lives.

My wife has been suffering from gall bladder cancer for the past two years, and is now at the final stage. I have been told by doctors that poisonous putrid fluids have entered her stomach lining, and that she is not responding to chemotherapy any more; there is no cure for this stage of cancer and they have done all that they can to help ease her pain.

A senior physician at the hospital kindly took me to the side and said:

We cannot fight God.

At this point I asked the doctors if the treatment may be stopped, but they advised against it.

If you do that, you could not possibly imagine the pain she would have to go through. It would be like an animal tearing at her body and flesh. However, inoculations and medicines would lessen the intensity of the pain.

Several people, well wishers, suggested we try homeopathy. We gave it a shot by consulting a homeopathic doctor recommended to us, because she was reputed to have cured many cancer patients.

Maybe she could have beaten the disease had we gone earlier, but I would not know that now…

It was during her treatment that her tumour marker (CA 19.9) shot up and has not come down since then. When the tumour marker reading continued rising, the doctors told me they had given it their all but there was nothing that they could do anymore.

It was an arranged marriage.

I hadn’t met my wife before the wedding, and some may disagree, but the old saying that ‘marriages are made in heaven’ fits us just perfectly. Ours was definitely a marriage made in heaven; all 50 years of our companionship were heavenly.

She was like my good luck charm. After we got married, I reached a stage in my job that was one step below the highest possible the civil services could offer.

Besides that, during our lifetime together we were able to help our four beautiful children get married and settle down. Our two boys are happily married to girls of their mother’s choice, and our daughters have settled in well with their respective husbands.

Like every marriage, we too had our disagreements, mostly concerning our children’s education. She wanted me to spend time at home and teach our children. But due to the nature of my job, I had to remain outdoors and could not manage this. But this, along with any other petty issues, we learnt to overcome. Together.

Unfortunately, my youngest daughter’s first marriage fell through because of misperceptions we had about the boy. Things we had been told by the boy’s father turned out to be untrue, and all the brilliance he had proclaimed was a façade. She was married to a man living in Turkey. We were told he was a physician, but in truth he earned his living providing private tuition in English. It was only when my daughter got married and arrived in Istanbul that we realised that his income was not enough to support both of them, and my daughter would have to call her mother for money every second month to pay for the rent and food. Some days, she would be left at home, starving, while the boy went out to eat, not bothering to feed his wife or the daughter he fathered and one day he simply disappeared. We have not heard from him since. It has been 17 years now.

In an attempt to find him, we requested the Pakistani Consulate General in Istanbul to try and locate him at various addresses we provided, but to no avail. Eventually, we married our daughter off to a man who lives in Dubai and they come to visit us fairly often.

The lesson we learnt from this experience – which everybody else should also learn is – don’t give your daughter in marriage to a boy unless you have seen the boy living with his parents. Notice his behaviour and upbringing at home and how he treats his relatives. That is an early reflection of his values and how he will eventually treat his own wife and kids. This is the same advice I would like to offer to all others who may be thinking of marrying their daughters to boys living abroad. Every marriage is a gamble, but it would be best to know the groom and his family thoroughly before making such a big decision.

Anyway, my spouse and I have lived as good companions. It has been a life without severe disagreements. We have enjoyed each other’s company and respected one another through times of hardship and those that brought us joy.

Although this is just a story of an ordinary person,  I hope that some lessons of life are taken from our mistakes for those treading this path, and are an inspiration for those who think marriages don’t last.

Ours did, for 50 wonderful years.

But as Shakespeare once said,

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.

Jonaid.Iqbal

Jonaid Iqbal

The author retired as Additional Secretary in the year 2000, after having served stints at high and low positions at Chittagong, Dhaka,Islamabad, Karachi, and Rawalpindi. He is an alumni of Dhaka University.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • rajabazeemi

    thank u sir for sharing few of ur experiences and most importantly the fact that be it the love-marriages or the arranged ones , it’s the ability to understand each other that matters the most in this relationship … wish u as much time as possible with ur wife sir , ur relationship with ur spouse is one that can be quoted as an example to contradict the myth that all that comes with marriages is shackles , sorrows and all the negativities…!!!Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/430/faraz-talat/ Faraz Talat

    This has to be the most heart-warming piece I’ve read in a while. I’m absolutely blown away.

    Now I might be digressing from the real topic, but as a doctor let me say this:

    Please do not consider getting her off palliative medical care. It may not cure her, but as the doctors say, it will provide her much relief. And also, please do not go around experimenting with homoepathy, as there’s no scientific evidence that it works. It will be a waste of your money, and most importantly, a waste of the precious time that can be spent more meaningfully. I understand that in desperation certain people go clutching at straws, experimenting with holistic/homeopathic regimens to try to get their loved ones cured, but it’s pointless.

    Having said that, I wish you and your wife all the best! You two are an inspiration in more than one way!Recommend

  • Umair

    Your wife will recover soon & you’ll celebrate 75th anniversary with her IA.Recommend

  • Ayaz

    Beautiful thoughts put into black and white, may Allah grant her health and even longer life to see the next decade of marriageRecommend

  • Maryam Malik

    Bravo! Happy Wedding Anniversary to you.

    My heartiest prayer for your better half. May she get well and God lessen her pain.Recommend

  • S

    Simply Beautiful! :’)Recommend

  • Sara Ahmed

    What a wonderful read !! I’m 27 and unmarried and I’ve been praying to have a life of understanding and love with my husband. Your piece gives me great hope:) my heart goes out to you and your wife and may Allah make it easy and better for you both inshAllah.Recommend

  • http://habloid.wordpress.com Habiba Younis

    May Allah bless your wife with a speedy recovery and shower your lives with infinite happiness :)Recommend

  • THE

    Beautiful writing! May Allah give your wife health and make it easier for her. Thank you sir for sharing your golden jubilee.Recommend

  • Yasser Nomann

    Sir, Best wishes for you both on your Golden Anniversary. They say cancer is so limited that it cannot cripple love & it cannot shatter hope. God bless bhabi.Recommend

  • Umair

    I am expecting maaannnnyyyyy comments from females.Recommend

  • manish

    YES, i am also of a belief that arranged or love, marriage is an agreement in which both husband and wife should be ready to sacrifice a part of their self for their spouse, in order to have a life of bliss and mutual respect.

    may you and your wife gather courage to brave the challenges ahead.Recommend

  • Nandita.

    Wish you the very best. Hope your wife recovers real soon.
    Reading about marriages like yours is a pleasure and a much needed reminder to the younger lot about what marriage, love and companionship are all about.Although the institution of marriage is still relevant in today’s world, it certainly seems to be crumbling but every now and then, we come across heart warming stories like yours which serve as an inspiration and give us an insight into what really makes a marriage tick.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Nice of you to share your experiences. Recommend

  • Sana

    mashallah,Recommend

  • http://NewYork Falcon

    May God give your wife health and an opportunity for you to spend even more time together. Thanks for sharing your experiences and advice. Recommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad

    Thanks for sharing your experiences, happiness and pain with us. Similar event happened in my family too. My niece was engaged to a doctor who was also a US resident. From the begining I was suspicious, therefore with the help of my friends in States, I found out that the boy was not a doctor, also he was illegal. I provided all proofs to my brother but instead of thanking me he kicked me out from his home and propagated that I was jealous ( In Punjabi Shareeka). After sometime my niece got married with same boy but could not go to States for four years. After four years of torcher that unfortuante girl finally got visit visa on her own and went to states. There both husband and wife are illegal and living a very miserable life, but her parents are proud that their daughter is in States.Recommend

  • Annie

    This article touches my heart :)
    I pray speedy recovery of your wife. May she get cured and you get to celebrate endless lovely moments with her IARecommend

  • zinzi

    This is a great article, especially for young couples and parents who are looking forward to their children’s marriage. You have summed up so well some very important life lessons that people tend to overlook. I hope your wife gets well soon inshaAllah. You both know you have played your parts wonderfully on this world’s stage :)Recommend

  • Baqar

    BeautifulRecommend

  • reality

    Happy Wedding Anniversary
    sir enjoy every second of your life with your love1
    May God gives you and your family the strength to overcome the situation. Recommend

  • gp65

    Good luck sir. My parents have been married 49 years and we kids are looking forward to celebrating their 50th anniversary also. Your story resonated greatly with me because my mother too is a cancer survivor. The part that I was most touched by is ‘we will not be celebrating the fact that we got married on this day a 50 years back but the intervening 50 years when we were happily married. Hope that despite your wife’s illness you are able to spend whatever time you have together with the same happiness and joy that seems to have characterised the rest of your life.Recommend

  • gp65

    @Ch. Allah Daad: Sorry about the situation between you and your brother. BAsed on rest of the description, it is likely that the boy had shared true picture with your brother (given that even currently he is happy though his daughter is living illegally with US with her non-doctor husband). Perhaps it is your brother who was simply telling relatives that she had married a doctor and was upset when you (with all good intentions) found out the truth.Recommend

  • Faraz

    absolutely beautifulRecommend

  • Asad

    Miracles happen in this world and I pray for another miracle for your wife. Thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts and experienceRecommend

  • mrk

    @Faraz Talat: Declaring alternative methods towards improving the remaining lifespan of his wife is not pointless. This is a problem with many Docs, especially in Pakistan, who believe that there’s only one way to approach a sickness/illness. Medicine cannot do anything for her now. and if they want to eleviate her last moments, what’s the harm in trying something that may have a chance while of course not expecting miracles? There’s certainly several case reports of supplements such as shark cargillage or specifically high dose vitamin C’s usefulness in certain cancer cases.

    What medicine offers her is at a tissue/organic level primarily. Increasing her cellular health may be a worthy goal that is worth trying while she is still alive. and it’s much less painful than what medicine has to offer her at this point unless you want to have her sedated all the time.

    There are many cases who have gotten permanent disabilities just by using a routine antibiotic for a minor ailment. It is always recommended to avoid medicine whenever possible, especially in minor non-infectious temporary ailments. Having said that, early detection of cancer is important, if not critical, to have any chance of survival. So take advantage of both medicine science and health-promoting alternatives.Recommend

  • Faraz

    speechless!Recommend

  • Me

    I am stunned by the beauty of your wordsRecommend

  • Fatima

    This is the most heart touching blog I have ever read on ET, May ALLAH Almighty bless your wife with many more years of life with health, wealth and honour. Ameen :)Recommend

  • n00r

    A heart felt article have a great 50th anniversary Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/430/faraz-talat/ Faraz Talat

    mrk,

    I’ll believe in alternate medicine when they manage to prove the effectiveness of their techniques through double-blind studies. Which they haven’t been able to so far.

    So in the meantime, I’ll stick to what’s backed by scientific evidence.Recommend

  • http://[email protected] um

    uncle.. you made us depressed yar.. heart touching an trouth of life we came here alone and we’ll go alone all we earn in this life is our relations famil friends etc..

    LET THE HOPE ALIVE~Recommend

  • jock

    Heartwarming, sir. I wish I could add to what so many others have said. However, please stick to palliative care. Your piece hasn’t depressed me…it has given me another good reason to reinvent my life. May you two have the very very best to whatever end.Recommend

  • x

    Prayers for you and your wife, may Allah give her health and lessen her pain. Ameen.
    A heartwarming story. A good marriage requires a lot of work but you are blessed that Allah gave you so much time together.
    My father passed away when I was 17 and my mother, in ill health herself,got me married a year later after i completed my A’Levels..I also had an arranged marriage, and with hesitation and awkwardness, with time and disagreements and love, with shared joys and pains, my husband and I created that bond which Allah wants a husband and wife to have. In 8 years of marriage, we had two daughters and I completed my bachelors and started teaching.
    I was 26 when my husband passed away leaving with me two girls aged 6 and 2.
    It has been over 3 years now and there is not a single day when I don’t miss him so achingly that getting out of bed seems like a massive struggle.
    Your story touched my heart and made me quietly envious for that which I could not have. It is a privilege to share your life with your spouse, to share the ups and downs, to raise a family together. May Allah bless your family. Recommend

  • Nosh

    heart touching :’)
    May God bless u two nd ur wife recovers soon..Insha Allah =)Recommend

  • Anonymous

    I just got married…ours was a completely arranged thing and that too within a v.short time…why we got married was simply cuz we knew!!! its hardly a month of being married and almost 4 months of knowing each other..we have had our share of disagreements…but despite all there is an underlying feeling of love and trust…that often gets us to see how stupid the arguments are!!! ur story actually gives me a lot of hope for having a heavenly 50 ahead:)thank u!

    may u n ur wife celebrate a beautiful 50:) Recommend